Sympathy from Ness – On Saturday, October 20th, relatives and friends in Ness were sad when the news came from Fort William that Angela Suith, nee Murray, had passed away at her home there at the age of 42 years.
Angela was the daughter of Kenneth Murray, Coinneach Beag, formerly of 39 Habost and although she had recently been in failing health, had, along with her husband and family, visited Ness earlier this year with her father who is a frequent visitor to his earlier home village of Habost.
At the time of writing it is expected that the funeral of Angela will be held in Fort William later this week.
In their time of grief we share and extend our sympathy to her husband Malcolm, their young daughter and son aged nine and 11, and we remember at this time her father Kenneth, her sister Carol and all others who mourn in a sad bereavement.
Lighthouse Memories – We are glad to note that there was a good attendance at the premises of Comunn Eachdraidh Nis on Saturday, October 20th, where an event arranged by the Islands Book Trust to mark the 150th anniversary of the Butt-of-Lewis Lighthouse was held.
Later in the afternoon those who ventured up the 168 steps to the top of the tower had a wonderful bird’s eye view of the Ness District and the mountains of the Scottish mainland on a beautiful sunny autumn day. We are indebted and thank the Islands Book Trust for arranging this project at this time.
Senior Citizens Lunch – On Thursday 11th October, 28 of Uig’s senior residents enjoyed a lavish three course lunch at Lochcroistean Restaurant, courtesy of Uig Community Council. This was a very pleasant occasion enjoyed by all who attended who want to record their thanks to John Maciver, Ardroil, Community Council Chairman, who hosted the lunch, and to Marianne Campbell, proprietrix of Lochcroistean Restaurant and her staff, whose warm welcome and cheerful customer care made the occasion so enjoyable.
Skips – A daily topic of conversation during the last month has been the abrupt disappearance, with no word of any replacement, of the two community skips, which have been a very useful amenity here since they were introduced in the early nineties. The skip just past Carishader Bridge was very well-kept by the Community Council but, unfortunately the same cannot be said of the other one at Ardroil, by the Red River Bridge, which was on a very exposed site with rubbish constantly being blown out of it and littering the area around. Householders now have nowhere convenient to dispose of bulky rubbish and the fear is that fly tipping will become widespread or that reverting to throwing it over the cliffs into the sea will result in its being washed ashore on our beautiful beaches.
Museum and Tearoom – It’s been another successful summer season for the museum and tearoom at the Community Centre which have been open right through the season until the end of September. Numbers were slightly down from last year, as they were with other local visitor enterprises, but the summer facilities at the Centre are very well-used by both visitors and locals.
High Level Action – Those intrepid walkers who are in the habit of climbing Mialaisbhal [Lewis’s highest summit at 574 metres] report that the cairn at the top has been razed to the ground with its stones scattered over a wide area and now that that’s known, it can be clearly seen, from the main road through binoculars, that the familiar finger at the top, pointing to the sky, is not there anymore. We’re not, in the community, without conjectures of UFOs and flashing lights in the sky or strong-arm tactics by purist outdoor types who object to anything man made in the wilds but the more down to earth of us think that the cairn must have been struck by lightning. Two years ago, there were visible light-coloured track-like scars to the north side of the summit for which there was no other explanation than impact from above. However, we regret the fall of the cairn which has been there forever.
Communions – This is autumn Communion week here with services in both congregations commencing on Thursday 25th. In the Church of Scotland, Miavaig, Rev Hugh Stewart will be assisted by Rev I M Macdonald, Ness, Rev I Maciver, presently locum at Lochs Crossbost, Rev I T Campbell, Gravir, and Rev Stephen Mathews, Eneclete.
In the Free Presbyterian Church, Miavaig, the interim Moderator, Rev David Campbell, Tolsta, will be assisted by Rev Donald Ross, Laide. Services in both churches are at 12 noon, except for Sabbath morning in the Free Presbyterian Church which is at 11.30am. Evening services in the Church of Scotland are at 7.30 pm except for Sunday which is at 6.30 pm, evening services in the Free Presbyterian Church are at 7pm except for Sunday which is also at 6.30 pm. Both congregations look forward to this special week in the calendar and to friends from other congregations joining them for services.
Bonfire Night – The next date in the calendar to watch out for after the communions, is Friday, 2nd November when the annual bonfire and fireworks display will be held across the road from the Community Centre. This is also the night for the Community Council’s Bring and Buy Sale in aid of senior citizens’ activities at 7pm with a fish and chips takeaway that evening as well.
Music Feast – The second weekend in November looks like being music weekend here to an unusual extent. The Community Centre is booked for a Jazz Night on Friday 9th, and, on Saturday, 10th, a visiting African Gospel Choir will perform from 7 - 9pm, also at the Community Centre. This is certainly a first for Uig, gospel choirs of this standing are rare visitors to the islands, let alone to the remote areas.
Get Well Wishes – Best wishes for a quick return to his usual good health are extended to Tony Ingle-Finch, Crowlista, who is presently being treated at a Glasgow Hospital for injuries sustained in a nasty fall while walking his dog on croft land at Crowlista. Since moving to Crowlista, Tony has been very ready to help with community activities and takes part in practically everything that goes on locally so we want him back home and fighting fit as soon as possible.
Còisir Ghàidhlig Chàrlabhaigh - The Carloway Gaelic Choir have just returned from a very successful Mòd in Dunoon. This was the choir’s second National Mòd. They were placed fourth out of eleven choirs in the Puirt competition. In the Lorn Shield, the choir came in second place to Còisir Sgìr’ a’ Bhac. The choir was ably conducted by Màiri Macleod and Gaelic tuition was provided by Iain Macarthur. Both are to be congratulated for their hard work. In addition to competing in choir competitions, choir members provided a congregation for Carloway folk competing in the Psalm Precenting competition. Iain Murdo Macmillan won this competition and the choir sang as his congregation at the final Mòd concert. Several choir members had a successful Mòd. Nicola Pearson won a solo and duet competition with her duet partner Wilma Kennedy. Calum Macleod won the men’s Gold Medal. Iain Murdo Macmillan, Tormod Macleod and Isabel Macleod were all in the Traditional Gold Medal final and Isabel was also a finalist in the women’s Gold Medal. In addition, other choir members won several 2nd and 3rd prizes. The choir would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have supported the choir in recent months. Còisir Ghàidhlig Chàrlabhaigh are grateful for the support of Iomairt Iar Thuath Leòdhais. Nach math a-rinn iad uile!
Sympathy - We send sincere sympathy to Kenneth and Donald Mackenzie, and the extended family of the late Johanna Mackenzie who recently passed away in the Western Isles Hospital following a short illness. Johanna’s death comes only weeks after the death of her husband Hector Mackenzie, ex Marvig. At this sad time for the family our thoughts are with them.
Communions - Communion services were held in Pairc Free Church, Gravir last weekend. On Friday ‘Latha na ceist’ (question day) the scripture text was Deuteronomy Chapter 33 Vs 29, given out by Murdo Maclennan (elder)...May the seed that was sown yield much fruit.
North Lochs - The Halloween Party is at the North Lochs Community Centre on Saturday 27th October. The children will be guising and the money will go towards the party and the Community Bonfire next week. There will be a Barbeque and a wee ceilidh to follow the bonfire. Everybody is welcome to come along.
Kinloch - Community Halloween party in Balallan Hall on Saturday 27th Oct at 6 pm. Fancy dress competition for children, party games, food and drink, Fancy dress encouraged for all. Any children at the party must be accompanied by an adult. The children’s party will end at around 8pm but families and the community are welcome to stay on or come along then for a fun Halloween evening and BYOB.
NLHS - Comann Eachdraidh Ceann a Tuath nan Loch have several dates for your diary this coming month. Saturday 10th November- Remembrance Day Service and Lunch.
Table top sale – On Saturday November 24th there will be a fundraising table top sale in the Community Centre.
North Lochs Historical Society Annual Dinner – Instead of a Christmas dinner this year we will have a St Andrews Day Dinner on November 30th in the Community Centre with profits going towards the Centre. Menus will be circulated shortly and bookings to be made with Jean MacLeod 860431.
AGM - The North Lochs Community Association will be holding an AGM in November and would encourage members of the community to come along. This is an opportunity to help, support, and discuss, whether changes and upgrades should be made to the community facility at Leurbost.
Services – Services in Scalpay Free Church last Sunday were conducted by Jeff O’Neill.
In Hospital – At the time of writing, Roderick Maclean, Hill Cottage, is hospitalised and we send him the best wishes of the community for a speedy and full recovery.
Prizegiving – In last week’s report of Sir E Scott Prizegiving, it stated Caroline Mackay, who won the Progress Prize, was on Secondary Two when in fact she was on Secondary Five when this award was presented.
Best Wishes – These are sent to Maria Macleod, Scott Road, on her wedding to Stevie Price on Tuesday, October 16th.
Maria is known to many here through her work as a classroom assistant at Sir E Scott School and a lifeguard at the Harris Sports Centre, while Stevie has been a player/coach of Harris Football Club over the last few seasons.
On behalf of everyone in Harris we wish them all the best for the future.
Mod Successes – Well done to all from Scalpay, or with Scalpay connections, who competed at the National Mod in Dunoon.
A special mention to those who came 1st: Jacqueline Macaskill, Kyles, whose mother Margaret has her family home at No.29; Gemma and Rebecca Finnegan, Seafield; Anne Marie Mackenzie, School House; Emma Macleod, Highbury; Rebekah Macleod, Torman; Rona Morrison, Hillside.
All stand for the all-conquering Sir E Scott Senior Choir who, for the second year in a row, amassed a grand total of seven trophies.
Christina Macleod, 9 Parkview Terrace, and Claire Macleod, Highbury, were part of the Sir E Scott Junior Choir who won the Puirt-a-Beul competition.
Congratulations all of you! As a small island we are really proud of the vocal, choral and adult talent we’ve produced over the years.
Conductor and Committee – As another successful Mod has drawn to a close we, on behalf of everyone, wish to thank Iain Maciver, Sir E Scott School Conductor, for his countless hours of dedication and hard work which over the years have meant many trophies won on a yearly basis.
We are also greatly indebted to our local Mod committee who tirelessly fundraise to ensure the thousands of pounds needed each year are in place, thus enabling so many to travel and compete.
A special thanks to those who over the years have accompanied the children. This year the team was John Angus, who also drove the bus; Isabella, Janice, Mairi, Margo, Emma, Mary Ann and Iain himself. You all deserve medals for calmness, patience and stamina!
Honorary Fellowship – Congratulations to Morag Macleod, Cala Reidh, who at this year’s graduation at Sabhal Mor Ostaig, was awarded the Honorary Sar Ghaidheal Fellowship in recognition of the tremendous work she has done for the Gaelic language, culture and communities. Morag spent nearly forty years working with the School of Scottish Studies, through her careers, amassing a priceless collection of Gaelic music, songs and tradition, and really deserves this honour for her unparalleled work.